Václav Chochola - biographical data


1923     Born on 30th January in Libeň in Prague.

1934     Studies at Grammar School in Libeň in Prague.

1939     An active sportsman and starts taking photographs of athletic competitions 

            with a 6x9 cm Voigtlander camera, starts to publish in the daily press.

1940     Buys a Zeis Ikon 6x6cm camera, prepares the photographs  in                

             the Friends of Amateur Photography Club.

1941     Abandons his studies at Grammar School and starts a photographic  appren 

            ticeship in O. Erbana's studio in Letné in  Prague, at the same time attends 

            photographic classes in Smíchov in Prague, publishes photographs in the

            daily press, apart from sport gradually starts to be involved in theatrical pho

            tography and cultural life.

1942     Gets to know and starts to work with the photographers Karl Ludwig

             and Zdeněk Tmej.

1943     First studio in the centre of Prague at 20 Soukenická Street. External photog

            rapher at the National Theatre, Vinohrady Theatre, Uranie, Meantime and

            Intimate Theatre Větrník and other theatres outside Prague as well. 

            Member of the Mánes Club of the Friends of the Arts.

1944     In his freelance work he is inspired by the atmosphere of the city and by his 

            social and artistic contacts with figures of the time. His photograhy is loosely

            based on the artistic programme of Group 42 and its urban poetry of the

            working week.

1945     Photographs the Prague Uprising and the end of the war. Continues to photo

            graph post-war theatrical premieres, the renewed  V + W Theatrical Scenes -

            Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec, cooperates with a recording study at

            Supraphon /previously Ultraphon/. Obtains educational  "Craftsman's certifi-

            cate" and thus finishes his  work  in the Letné studio. Starts to photograph

            with a Leica, Primarflex and Contax.

1946-48 Photographs the first years of the Prague Spring, just about every sporting 

            discipline  -  from athletics, cars, cycling and motorcycling competitions, the

            traditional annual walking competition  from Prague- Poděbrady, fencing, foot

            bal, hockey, horse-racing and so on,  at the same time he devotes himself to

            photographing theatrical scenes.

1949     Accepted as a member of the Association of Czechoslovakian Graphic and

            Visual Artists. / Amongst the members: K.Ludwig, J.Sudek, J.Lukas, K.Plicka,

            J.Prošek, J.Brok, J.Ehm,T.Honty, J.Jeníček Z.Tmej / Gets to know the painter

            František Tichý and makes make his first portrait of him.

1950     Obtains a new studio in Rytířské Street in the Old Town in  Prague.

1951-52 Collaberates with Zdeněk Tmej, with book publishers and with magazines,

             photographs the suburbs.

1953     Marriage, birth of his daughter Blanka, returns to Libeň with his family.

1957     Passes the editorial screening in the Association of Czechoslovakian Graphic

            and Visual Artists, Jindřich Chalupecký champions his photography. Suffering

            from total stress is hospitalized in a psychiatric wing.

1958-59 Friendship and collaberation with František Tichý on the completion and  

             rephotographing  of his complete graphic work for publication. While photo

             graphing in the  SKN Theatre meets  Bohumil Hrabal and his friends.

1960     Prepares his first monograph in collaboration with Jiří Kolář.

1961     Three-month stay in Vietnam, where he was sent by the SČVU together with

             the photographer  Dagmar Hochova.

1962-67 Continues to make portraits of distinguished Czech personalities from the

             arts,but also of foreignors, who visited Prague: D. H. Kahnweiler, P. P.

             Pasolini, M. Antonioni, L. Armstrong, J. L. Barrault, M. Marceau and others.

1968-69 Repeated stays in Paris enrich his collection of portraits of personalities:

             S. Dalí, M. Ray, Brassai, M. Ernst, D. Elington and others.

1970     22. 1. Arrested after photographing Jan Palach's grave and held on remand

             for a month in Ruzyň prison.

1970-73 Given a suspended sentence of five years. Takes a minimal amount of pho

            tographs, works on the photographic material from his stay in France, matters 

            made worse by the loss of all his photographic equipment. It is stolen from

            him by a Prague taxi driver. His daughter Blanka passes the School Leaving

            Exam in Art Photography at the  Secondary Pedagogical Graphic School and

            starts to help with the work in the archive.

1974     Evicted from the studio in  Rytířské Street and moves to a new studio in a

            pre-fabricated building in  Braník in Prague 4.

1979     Works with his daughter on the completion of a biography of his life and pho

            tographic work  for a theoretical diploma thesis at  FAMU called "The life and

            creative impulses of the photographer Václav Chochola.

1980     Birth of his grandson Marek, who later also starts studiing photography.

1982     A retrospective stocktaking exhibition on his sixtieth birthday is put together

            by  Jana Reichová and opened by Bohumil Hrabal.

1989     Continues to work on the arrangement and completion of his extensive

            archive,  the solo exhibitions were initiated by his daughter. For the first time

            an exhibition collection travels to America as a whole. Makes commemorative

            posters of Josef Sudek for the Ministry of Culture of the Czechoslovak

            Republic and the Association of Czech Graphic and Visual Artists in Prague.

1990- 93 In Paris again after a break of more than twenty years and as a grant-holder 

             from the  Charter 77 Foundation at La Napoule Chateaux in the South of

             France. 1993 his daughter works independently on his archive and prepares

             the monograph "Cabinet of Memories of Václav Chochola" and an independ

             ent exhibition project, which is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the

             Czech Republic an a number of institutions.

1994-99 Continues with the completion, classification and working on the photograph

             ic archive for photographic exhibitions and publications.

2000-01 The director Věra Chytilová and Blanka Chocholová prepare a two-part docu

             mentary film for Czech television about the photographers Chochola, Ludwig

            and Tmej called Rises and Falls. Within the framework of the Prague

            European City of Culture for the year 2000 project an exhibition of four classic

            Czech photographers - Hájek, Chochola, Ludwig and Tmej is put on in the

            Václav Špála Gallery (with a reprise in Český Krumlov) 

2003    As an eightieth birthday present, an Exhibition from the Photographic Archive of 

            Vaclav Chochola  was held in the Clam-Gallass palace in Prague. The exhibition 

            travelled, slightly  reduced   in size, to Ostrava and Opava. Apart from his daughter

            Blanka, his grandson  Marek also  helped to prepare this exhibition.

2004    Release of a monograph in the edition Fototorst, presented together with the

      exhibition of portraits of Salvador Dalí in palace Langhans. Exhibitions 

      “Salvador Dalí” and “Photographic Archive” in the Städtische galerie, Erlangen,

      Germany. Exhibiton “Theatre in photographs of Václav Chochola” opened in the

      National Theatre,  Prague


2005    His work was presented in the exhibition "Czech Photography IV" in the Leica 

            Gallery, New York. Chochola recieved the “Trebia” prize for creative work from the

            Miró gallery for  his collection of portraits of Salvador Dalí.

            Participation in the exhibitions “Images of War” and  “Memory - the years of  War”

           during the 60th anniversary of the end of  World War II. His work was represented in

            the exhibiton “Czech Photography of 20th Century”in Prague. 29.5. - 31.8.2005,

            the exhibition “Jan Zrzavý in the photographs of Václav Chochola” in Krucemburk.  


27.8. 2005, Dies after a short and severe illness in Motol hospital in Prague.




http://www.vaclavchochola.cz, Author © Archiv B&M Chochola

Publishing of content, photographs or other segments come under  copyright law and is restricted without authors agreement